Sunday, December 22, 2013

It's Cute to Eat Fruit

You know the saying, "eat your fruits and veggies", the one we were told at a young age, and for some are still told to today. Well lets think of how many of us actually did what we were told when we were younger... But what if you were told, "wear your fruits and veggies". In this case, lets skip the veggies but focus on the fruit. Have you ever wanted to wear your favorite fruit? I know I have, and now you can with the help of Fruitstrology! A newly launched community-based project turned business by two Temple University graduates. The girls behind the fruit believe in the power of sharing and doing good for the community of Philadelphia.
And here's how you can get involved. It starts with sharing 2 ways, (1) For every product sold, Fruitstrology donates a serving of fresh fruit to a child in Philadelphia, one for one. (2) What’s the strology behind Fruitstrology? Well, it’s what describes you. Each fruit has its own personality that expresses you. Whether you’re a Talkative Grape, Easygoing Banana or both, your purchase not only says you’re committed to supporting local childrens’ nutrition, it’s also a fun and creative way to say something about yourself. It’s simple, join, wear, share and make a difference. This is how we share the fruit we wear.
I think we can all relate to a specific fruit, I know I'm a "Charismatic Peach" and cannot wait to receive my tank in the mail! Check it out - and their Facebook page: Stay fruity ya'll.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Om-loving it.

So it's been a while since I've been on the blog scene, but I'm back with a full fledged post that will be worth your while, because I know you've all been waiting for a new post by me. As my semester comes to a close at school, I am taking every advantage I have to go eat delicious food in the city of Philadelphia, which is just a subway ride away. Today, I ventured into the city around mid-morning and had the most amazing brunch ever. A friend and I decided on the Famous 4th Street Deli on S. 19th Street, a fairly new place, only about 4 years old, but the decor had an old world feel. We were seated and given appetizers of pickled cabbage salad with mini cucumbers and sliced carrots and spicy Dill pickles, needless to say, I was immediately in heaven. I ordered a veggie omelette with fruit on the side. 10 minutes later, our meals came out; little did I know that this omelette would be the full size of the entire plate with a small, fruit bowl on the side that looked minuscule compared to the enormous yellow, red, green and brown rectangular creation, that as I stared down at it, was staring up back at me. I took my smaller side plate, squeezed out some juicy red ketchup and golden brown mustard and cut my omelette in half. I dipped my first piece in the circle of condiments (I like to mix the ketchup and mustard because of the spicy sweet combination). The fluffy omelette melted in my mouth. The vegetables appeared bite by bite; the broccoli, white onions and green pepper provided me with a crunch that evened out the softer vegetables of tomatoes and mushrooms. For an extra hint of flavor, I sprinkled on some black pepper. I like my food with a kick. The fruit bowl on the side was a perfect taste of mellowness - the bursting red grapes and succulent cantaloupe, watermelon, and honeydew. Simply said, the taste and size of this meal was completely unreal.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Quinoa Diaries

About a month ago I went to the grocery store and went straight to the "bulk foods" aisle, my favorite aisle. In the mood for something different, I picked up a plastic bag and filled it with yellow quinoa. I like quinoa a lot, but am always unsure of how to incorporate it into my meals, so I figured that this would be a good start...until I came home and put it on the top shelf of the pantry and never looked at it again until I moved into school where it ended up in my kitchen cabinet at school, waiting to be used. But, I have been craving it...just not really craving the idea of cooking it. Luckily for me, I didn't have to. Living so close to the city of Philadelphia, I jumped on the subway with a couple friends and we headed into Center City for dinner. We chose Steven Starr's Continental Mid-Town, a hip, funky restaurant on the corner of 18th and Chestnut in Rittenhouse Square. To my pleasant surprise, there was a Black Quinoa 'Tabbouleh' Salad that sounded delish. If you haven't already guessed, I ordered the salad. 15 minutes later, my salad came out in the shape of a round-layered volcano, I kid you not. The large salad was placed in front of me as my mouth watered and my eyes were amazed by the bright colors that peaked out the sides of the salad. The black quinoa made the white, green and red colors pop. I dug my fork into the massive round shape and uncovered the hidden ingredients - dark green leafy spinach, fresh mint, tiny crumbles of feta cheese and pieces of cucumbers, onions, tomatoes and halved olives. With an extra addition of creamy avocado to add in. The quiona was soft and mixed perfectly with the crunchy vegetables. The feta cheese and balsamic vinaigrette dressing added a touch of sweetness to the salad, with the unique flavor of the avocado chunks that melted in my mouth. This meal was almost too good to be true, so I decided to save some of it for left-overs...which were deliciously eaten today. It is safe to say, my quinoa craving was definitely satisfied.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

My Main Squeeze

As I was walking back from work to the train today, I found that I wanted a little pick-me-up. I toyed with the thought of getting something at the train (like a latte or a hot cup of tea) but decided against both of those boring choices, I was in the mood for something atypical from my usuals, a change of pace. Taking a different route back to Suburban station, I passed by "Animo: Juice and Burrito Bar" on the corner of 17th and Arch Street in Center City, Philadelphia. The fluorescent yellow tables outside and the buzz of people inside pulled me in. This place was hip and happening, a restaurant where your choices of food or drink are made to order. I began perusing the menu, which was a difficult task because everything sounded sooooooooo good. I narrowed it down to 3 juices, Glow (carrot, cantaloupe and orange), Spa Treatment (cucumber, apple, lemon & lime), or Ginger Snap (apple, ginger and lime). Ultimately, I decided on the Ginger Snap and anxiously awaited for my drink to be prepared. As I stood waiting on the side of the juice bar, my drink was brought out to me in a clear cup with a shimmering lime green color radiating through the plastic. I was blown away after my first sip, the freshness of the fruit was addicting. The tart acid of the lime juice blended with the tanginess of the green apple, both flavors freshly squeezed by hand into a juicer. As I continued to sip, the spice of the ginger appeared, mixing with the sugars from the fruit, providing a natural sweetness to my juice.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Vietnamese, Please!

As I was getting ready for work Tuesday morning, I asked my dad, "are we going to Vietnam tonight?" He laughed, clearly amused by my question and told me that we had a layover in China. So when I returned home later that day, I started to pack my bags...well, one bag, a purse actually that held just a phone and chapstick. Because if you didn't catch on already, we weren't actually going to Vietnam, just Vietnam Cafe on 47th and Baltimore in University City, Philadelphia. The restaurant was large with tables both inside and out, we were seated at a table partially inside with the other half outside, the weather was a perfect temperature of warm with a hint of a chilled breeze. We were starving when we got there and wasted no time on ordering. For my appetizer, I decided on "Goi Du Du Ga" aka the Papaya Salad. The bed of salad was made of strips of white Papaya fruit, thinly sliced shreds of bright orange carrots, pieces of white meat chicken, Vietnamese rau ram (like mint herbs) and crushed peanuts; dressed in a tangy vinaigrette of salt, sugar, fish sauce, rice wine vinegar and flakes of crushed red pepper. The salad was bright with color and flavor, the freshness of the summer Papaya fruit with the spicy chili vinaigrette on top. The peanuts crunchy with each bite, the zest of the dressing adding just a touch of spice to the soft delicate flavors of the salad.
Next for my entree I chose the Ga Sate aka Chicken Sate. As I was still contemplating my fullness from my salad, my entree appeared on a large white plate, the aura of spice wafted through the air and tickled the smell buds in my nose. The Sate sauce was a deep mahogany brown and it covered the bottom of the plate. On top of the sauce were the goods - chicken, flower-cut carrots, sliced white onions and red and green peppers. The minced chunks of garlic were tasty explosions throughout the plate. Whoever says they don't like garlic because it makes their breath smell is cah-razy...just brush your teeth afterwards! Garlic is one of the most common and I must say, most delicious ingredients used in cooking. The sauce was also made of spiced ginger root providing a sweet, peppery taste. The chicken was tender and juicy, and the vegetables melted in my mouth. Although I ate a decent amount of my dish, I still had left-overs...which lasted about a half hour in the car until I came home and finished them off. This Vietnamese meal was light and fresh, an ideal dinner for the hot sticky summer.

Monday, July 15, 2013


You know those shirts that say: "My dad [or another family member] went to [state or city] and all I got was this lousy t-shirt"? Well if I could make one for the city of Ocean City, Maryland, it would say: "I went to Maryland and all I got was CRABS!" Now don't let your minds wander too far from this statement, when I say crabs, I mean the real thing. The orange crustaceans that live on beaches or oceans with a single pair of sharp claws. Now usually, people tend to stay away from restaurants that are advertising "All You Can Eat", myself included, but last night, however, I made an exception. It was our last night on the "island" of Ocean City, MD and we wanted to soak up the last bits of Maryland, which meant for dinner it was, "All You Can Eat Crabs". I've never had a real crab before, but I love imitation crab meat. Tonight, though, I was determined to try the real thing. The restaurant we chose was on the beach, eating dinner with my feet squished in the sand was the ultimate experience, old-bay sanded crabs and sandy feet. A large platter of cooked crabs appeared at our table in about 15 minutes, the hard blue shell crabs had been steamed to a dark red and sprinkled in the zesty spice of Old-Bay seasoning. I turned the crab over so its belly was facing me and smashed the center with a wooden mallet, I took the top shell of the crab off, as the shells pinched my hands, and uncovered the tender, juicy, meaty insides. I threw the non-eatable pieces into a large bucket and moved onto the meat in the legs of the crab, which broke apart with another smash from the wooden mallet. The salty spice from the Old-Bay mixed with the savory flavors of the crab. The crab legs were smooth and sweet. The meat was moist and delicate, loaded with flavor, colored a glistening white. Although I took breaks in between my crab consumption, I had to stop after I had devoured 6 and a half crabs - I felt happily full and satisfied. It's safe to say, I clawed my way through Ocean City, Maryland.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Israel vs. America: Food Edition

On a normal day in America, most people eat lunch around noon or soon after that. On a normal day in Israel, most people eat lunch around 1 pm or so. Why the comparison? Well that's because my American life has been put on hold for the past week and a continuation into next week and I have taken up the Israeli lifestyle - living and volunteering in the small community of Netivot, Israel. After a long, hot, tiring but rewarding day of volunteering to build a community garden yesterday, I was excited for our day plan today, a tour of Netivot...and equally as excited for the air conditioned bus. From 9 am-1 pm we toured the city, seeing the religious and cultural landmarks. Israel's preservation of its history is unlike anything in America - learning about the places and then being able to physically go and see them is what is most special. After a long morning, lunch time was here - it was off to the "Sim Center", the central shopping mall in Netivot. A couple friends and I choose to eat at Cafe Greg, a small, coffee shop which also catered to our lunch needs. We started with a couple appetizers - small tiny twist pretzels and cut up vegetables sprinkled with salt and pepper. The carrots, cucumbers and red peppers, filled a white dish with color and crunch, and the sweet tomatoes burst in my mouth. For my meal, I chose a Black Lentil and Bulgar Wheat salad. In about 10 minutes, out comes a large, clear hollow bowl-plate filled to the top with food; a base layer of Lentils and Bulgar Wheat as well as all the mix-ins. Chopped cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, chunks of sesame seed sweet potato, dried cranberries, drizzled in a dressing of lemon zest, olive oil and date honey - with shavings of mozzarella cheese on top. My eyes could hardly contain my mouth, I could not wait for the first bite, which was unreal. The crisp vegetables were crunchy and fresh, the cranberries tangy, the sweet potatoes were soft and melted in my mouth and the honey from the dressing added just a touch of sweetness to the salad. The salad got better bite after bite, the cheese helped to balance out all the ingredients by adding a bit of creaminess to it. I left the cafe feeling content, the perfect amount of full-ness and a container filled with leftovers. The wait for lunch was definitely worth it - delicious
flavors and good company. Plus, an incredible surrounding city of Netivot, where even though I am American, I instantly feel at home. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Faux Dough

Everyone always has an opinion about the best type of pizza: Ray's famous pizza New York style, sicilian, thin crust, crust with cheese, the list can go on and on. But before you start drooling as you picture a sizzling hot slice of pizza with the gooey cheese dripping off the sides and a crispy crust that breaks apart in your hands, let me stop you there...I like alternative versions of pizza, i.e. pizza without the typical crust. And tonight for dinner was no exception...I was going to make cauliflower crusted pizza. I could hardly contain my excitement when I arrived home after a long, hot and sticky day in the city of Philadelphia. I started the process by splitting a head of cauliflower in half and cutting out the stems, only keeping the florets (flower shaped pieces) from the top and placing them in a large bowl. After microwaving the florets for about 8 minutes, I took them out to cool and began whisking an egg in a separate small bowl. As the cauliflower was cooling, I added the egg into the bowl, a quarter teaspoon of crushed garlic and half a cup of shredded Mozzarella cheese. Once the ingredients were stirred together, I poured the crust mixture into a pan and let it bake in the oven for 15 minutes. The timer beeped in impecable time, the 15 minutes flew by and it was time for the toppings - a layer of tomato paste mixed with basil, three handfuls of sprinkled cheese, thin slices of a juicy red tomato, some chopped scallions and pieces of spinach. The pie went back in the oven for 6 minutes, allowing the cheese to melt and the toppings to cook. It was hard to wait the short amount of 6 minutes, the aroma of the bubbling cheese and pungent garlic wafted through the house. When the timer went off, I raced into the kitchen and pulled the pizza out of the oven and could hardly contain my eyes and tastebuds, the cheese had melted into a white stringy bed as it peaked out through the luscious red color of the tomato, the bright kelly green scallions and the dark forest green spinach. Instead of a hard and heavy taste of breaded crust, the cauliflower was light and fluffy, the garlic flavor seeped through the vegetable toppings, the tomatos were soft, the scallions added a bit of a crunch. I had one slice, then another and then picked the toppings off the cheese, I could not stop myself, it was really good. In my opinion, it is safe to say this was the best type of pizza I have ever had. You can eat the pizza with anything, but mine went well with a glass of Rosé, bottoms up!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Thai This

There are certain types of ethnic foods that I believe should be eaten sporadically: Chinese, Japanese, Indian, just to name a few. However, there is one exception: Thai food! When you ask me what my favorite type of ethnic food is, I will 9 times out of 10 say: Thai. Tonight I invited a friend over for dinner and you will never believe what we decided to make...THAI FOOD (surprise)! After searching long and hard for a Pad Thai recipe, I stumbled upon an easy vegetarian Pad Thai dish and we got straight to work...well, the abbreviated version (with ingredients we had in the house). First, I boiled a heaping amount of white bean thread noodles, that turned to a translucent clear after they were cooked. Then, we got to work on the sauce. If you are an avid Thai eater like me, you know that Thai food has flavor and flair, with a robust spiciness. We took a 1/4 cup of soy sauce, 2 scoops of chunky peanut butter, two halves of one freshly squeezed lemon (the recipe called for lime), 4 individual packets of white sugar and 2 tablespoons of Siracha (a red tangy hot sauce). We whisked the mixture together and began to sauté half of a chopped white onion in the wok, carefully adding half a block of white spongey tofu. We cooked the ingredients down and added the bean thread noodles and peanut butter and soy sauce mixture with a small forkful of garlic and some chopped scallions for more flavor. I picked up my chopsticks (feeling in an authentic mood) and took my first bite, which was filled with a spicy kick from the Siracha and a creaminess from the peanut butter. The soft bites of tofu were light and fluffy. The flavors paired perfectly - both salty and sweet. I finished my first plate and went back for seconds, excited for the leftovers that will be waiting for me at lunch tomorrow. It was thai-tally delicious.

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Dairy Dream

On a recent trip to the supermarket I bought some beautiful ripe red strawberries. I wanted to make something cold, sweet, creamy, fresh and fruity and came up with a great combination for a light dessert or snack. I washed, hulled and halved some juicy strawberries. Then I opened a container of plain greek style yogurt and drizzled in some honey for sweetness. Next, I took a knife and spread the yogurt on top of the strawberries like icing until it covered the entire half. Then for a crunch, I sprinkled miniature chopped walnuts on top of the layer of yogurt. I placed the sliced yogurt covered strawberries into a container with a lid and put them in the freezer for about four hours. After returning home from a long walk, later in the day, I was hot and wanted something to cool me off. I pulled out the container to find the strawberries frozen solid. I plopped a frozen strawberry half into my mouth. The yogurt melted to a creamy liquid and a crunch from the nuts, the taste was soothing. The snack was a dairy dream, filled with delicious flavor.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


Salsa and guac for breakfast? Only with a side of pita chips. This morning I was doing a cooking demonstration with homemade salsa, guacamole and pita chips. To start, I gathered all the ingredients - 5 on-the-vine tomatoes, 1 sweet onion, 2 avocados, 2 cloves of garlic, 1 jalapeño pepper, 2 limes, salt, pepper, onion powder, and a handful of Cilantro.
I took a large blue cutting board and a serrated knife and got to work on the salsa. I sliced and seeded the tomatoes before cutting them into smaller pieces and placing them on a paper plate. I peeled the skin off the onion and chopped it up into tiny chunks. I took the dark green jalapeño, sliced it in half, seeded it, combined all the pieces together and carefully slid my knife back and forth through the chops of pepper. Once all the ingredients were cut, I combined them in a medium-sized glass bowl, sprinkled on some salt, squeezed on some lime juice and freshly chopped Cilantro as a garnish. I spooned together all the ingredients as the bowl sparkled from the bright colors of the vegetables. The fresh scents permeated the kitchen.
Next came the guacamole - I began with mashing the avocado together with a spoon, making it into a thick consistency. I added a splash of salt for flavor, fresh lime juice and again, freshly chopped Cilantro to add an authentic tangy Mexican flavor.
After a half hour of fresh ingredients preparation, it was time for the pita chips. I pulled the pita apart into halves and then cut them into triangle shaped chips. I placed the chips in a tin-foil dish and sprinkled on the flavors - garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. I placed the tin in the oven on 400 degrees for about 12 minutes and waited for them to turn crispy.
And FINALLY, it was time to eat! There were four other women there for the demonstration and we were all anxious for the taste test. The crunch of the pita chip was an ideal combination with the creamy guacamole. And the salsa was a whole other story - the flavors were a blend of perfection. The pungent taste of the onion, the sweetness of the tomato, and the acidity of the lime mixed with the jalapeño, which added a kick of flavor, leaving a fiery sensation in our mouths.
A savory, flavory breakfast replacement with a Kosher twist.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Bowl-ing The Perfect Game

It was 50 degrees and sunny in downtown Boulder, Co and my friend and I were in need of a "rush". What type of rush, you may ask? A rush bowl. "Rush bowls" is the name, a bowl of blended fruit and granola is its game. Located "On the Hill" of University of Colorado Boulder's campus - where I am for the weekend visiting a friend at school. We walked into a little shop with sea blue colored walls and one large menu that covered the nature back walk of the store. My friend and I decided on a "yoga" bowl, blended mango, pineapple, banana, green tea, frozen yogurt and skim milk. Each bowl is freshly prepared and unique in its ingredients. The fruit mixed with the green tea colored the bowl a mint green that layered the bottom of the bowl, with a covering of homemade granola and a drizzle of honey. I dunked my spoon into the bowl of swirly goodness. The first bet was crunchy, creamy, delicious and nutritious. A wholesome bunch of ingredients, with a mellow, mild taste. Each bite of granola was covered in the sweetness of the honey, with the tropical flavor of the fruit. It was a yog-tastic bowl of healthy indulgence, leaving my sweet tooth satisfied and happy.

Friday, March 29, 2013

The Rainbow Connection

After 3 days of Passover leftovers of (chicken, brisket, potato kugel), we were over[the]lefts, it was time for a meal change-up.  In my cousins house with my surrogate family for the week, my aunt and I decided to clear out the refrigerator and make a large salad filled with colors of the rainbow. We started with a white salad dish and covered the plate with a bed of Kelly-green romaine lettuce. Then we moved that over to the side and began the chopping of the vegetables. First came the vibrant purple cabbage, which I sliced into chunks, circular cuts of carrots, "c" shaped cuts of celery and small chopped pieces of a sunshine yellow pepper. Since a balanced meal should have many different food groups - we added ripe avocado slices for the nutritious fats and lumps of crab meat for protein. To finish it off, we sprinkled some sesame seeds on top. Within a mere 10 minutes of preparation, a salad masterpiece was created. And then came the taste-test, the crisp bites of lettuce, the crunch of peppers, carrots, cabbage and celery mixed with the creamy bites of the avocado, the flavors were to die for. The crab added a soft, delicate sweet taste. This salad was the perfect diversion from my repetitive Passover meal choices.  Leaving me satisfied and excited to eat the left-overs the following day.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

A Mindful Mediterranean Meal

All day long my timing was off because of daylight savings, even though we "sprang forward" an hour, I felt as if we really had "fallen back" one instead.  At 6:30 I arrived for my dinner reservation with my uncle at Aldar Bistro on Montgomery Ave in Bala Cynwyd.  I couldn't wait to eat, my stomach was grumbling.  The style of the restaurant is Mediterranean, so we chose a hummus platter for an appetizer.  About 10 minutes after we placed the order, out came a heaping bowl of hummus with fresh chickpeas, a bowl of char-grilled pita triangles and a handful of sliced cucumbers.  I dipped a crisp cucumber in the bowl of hummus.  The flavors tingled in my mouth, the crunch of the cucumber was complimented by the creaminess of the hummus.  I decided tonight at dinner I was going to practice the art of mindful eating, a skill I am learning about in this new book I am reading called Savor by world renown Buddhist, Thict Nhat Hanh.  I ate slowly, taking in every flavor, concentrating on every bite, letting myself enjoy the food I was eating, rather than being distracted by the surrounding tables and loud conversations.  For dinner, my entree came out bright with color.  The bright colors resembled the weather outside, the warmth from the yellow sun as the seasons change from winter to spring.  I ordered a dish with a simple name, "Chicken and Vegetables", but the dish was anything but simple.  A large deep-dish plate filled with a bed of couscous (a wheat grain, similar to rice or pasta) and other ingredients - grilled slices of chicken, flat orange carrot chunks, slices of thin white onion, "c" shaped cuts of yellow summer squash and green zucchini; as I dug further into the deep surface of the plate, I discovered more - sliced mangoes and pineapple chunks, with a couple raisins that were hidden throughout the dish.  The entire meal was drizzled in a light cinnamon curry sauce.  The cinnamon flavor came through in each bite.  The chicken was tender, the carrots were soft, the zucchini and squash were juicy, the onions provided an even balance from the pungent flavor.  The couscous was the perfect grain as it picked up all the flavors from the dish.  The meal was delicious and filled with flavor, I cannot wait to go back again.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Morning Rush

Sometimes my life is so busy and I'm pressed for time that making breakfast can be difficult - even though I know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  Prepared foods are not really what I like to turn to for breakfast, especially on Tuesday and Thursdays, my longest days of the week.  So with breakfast being an extremely vital meal for me today, I needed a fresh start with a bowl of goodness.  For my morning meal today, I began collecting the individual fruit ingredients - a fresh, plump and juicy peach, ripe red strawberries and small, crispy red grapes.  I took a clear glass bowl and then began the process of cutting the fruit.  I cut the peach into large slices, then in smaller chunks, and sliced the stem off the strawberries and cut them into quarters.  Then I added those two ingredients to the glass bowl and added a handful of red grapes.  I stirred about 3 ounces of vanilla yogurt and dolloped it on top of the fruit.  Then I sprinkled on 1/4 cup of slivered almonds and added 2 tables of Vanilla Flax Granola for the additional crunch factor.  My eyes were dancing with colors from the bowl, they were so bright.  My first spoonful was a combination of fruit flavors, filled with the smooth texture of the yogurt, a crunchy bite of the almonds, mixed with granola, as well as the pop-a-ble bites of the grapes.  The bowl was bursting with flavor, freshness and healthy choices.  I won't compromise on taste...for me, it has to taste good.  I know the week isn't over yet, but I can already say this breakfast will be my favorite one of the week.  I am satisfied and content, but not overly full - so even during the morning rush of getting ready, this breakfast was a great way of giving me a flavor rush in the morning.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Chicken Soup for the Winter's Soul

So much little time.  Last night we had a Shabbat dinner, which meant chicken.  Chicken, chicken, chicken, sometimes I feel as though it's all I eat - but it is pretty good.  Anyways, we had some chicken left over and I decided to make chicken soup.  If my readers' haven't realized by now...soup is my favorite food.  However, I do not like soup from a can, homemade soup is the way to go.  I started with a large black soup pot and poured one full carton of organic, low-sodium, chicken stock into the pot and turned the stovetop on.  I added the chicken carcass with the remaining pieces of chicken into the now bubbling liquid and let the mixture boil.  I cut one large white onion in half and slowly placed each half in the pot.  Then I added a couple handfuls of small orange baby carrots, a cup of frozen corn, a half-cup of barley and my favorite ingredient: a can of fire-roasted tomatoes.  The tomatoes turn the soup a scarlet red and give it a smoky flavor.  After all the ingredients were added, I covered the pot and let the soup cook on a rolling boil.  A looooooonnnnng 2 hours later, the soup was almost completed, I added some spices for flavor - salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder.  Finally, it was time for the taste test.  I ladled the steaming hot soup into a clear bowl and tasted my first spoonful.  And it was absolutely delicious, if I do say so myself.  The barley had created a creamy consistency, making the flavors melt in my mouth.  The tiny specks of yellow corn were hidden in every spoonful, the baby carrots were cooked to softness, the onions had separated into thin translucent pieces and the tasty, tender morsels of chicken reminded me of our Shabbat dinner.  Immediately after one bowl, I was back for a second and then a third, it was hard to stop.  This chicken soup was able to fill my soul and stomach.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Chick-a-Doodle Do

Today marked one of the coldest days back home in the suburbs of Philadelphia, I shivered as I stepped into the frigid bitterness of the outside, I was not prepared for this weather, in the least.  Throughout the day I tried to stay bundled and warm with cups of tea.  I was looking forward to a nice, hot, home-cooked meal for dinner.  After skimming through a couple of online sites with various recipes, I found one to my liking, another food blog called "The Shiksa in the Kitchen", cute name, good recipes and yummy looking food pictures.  One recipe in particular caught my eye, Chicken Chickpea Stew - a different kind of chicken dish that I wanted to try...and that's exactly what I did!  I saved the recipe and began to cook later in the day.  Starting the dish by browning 4 chicken thighs in a large black pot, I cooked each side for 5 minutes and then removed the pieces to add in the other ingredients.  I diced one onion and scooped the white chunks into the pot where I began to stir them around, once the onions started to caramelize I added chops of vibrant orange carrots to the mix and continued to stir.  Then I added the remainder of ingredients - two large halves of sliced red roasted peppers, a can of Chickpeas, a half cup of crushed red tomatoes and the spices - Paprika, Salt, Pepper, Cumin and a dash of Cayenne pepper.  I placed the pieces of chicken back in the stew and let it cook for about 45 minutes with occasional stirring.  The stew came to a boil as bubbles arose from the heat all around the bowl, I continued to stir as the bubbles continued to reappear, it turned into a game of how many bubbles I could pop.  To end the preparation, I removed the skin from the chicken and finely shredded the pieces, adding them back to the bowl, dousing them in the saucy mixture.  As the stew cooked, the glorious smell wafted throughout my house - the strong spices left my nose sniffing, and my mouth watering.  The 45 minutes, plus an extra 15 at the end felt like eternity.  I was so eager to taste it.  Finally, the time had come.  The first bite was unreal, literally unreal.  I wish you (my readers) were able to taste it.  The crunchiness of the chickpeas,  and the way they dissolved in my mouth bite by bite, the creamy-soupiness of the tomatoes spread heat all throughout my body, the spices were tasted, but not too strong - just right...and the chicken was seasoned to perfection, dipped in all the ingredients, the flavors had really settled in.  This dish was fresh, bursting with flavors, warm and comforting, a perfect pick-me-up on a cold winter day.  

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Personal Pizza Pizzaz

I wanted to make a new Saturday night special, homemade pizza for dinner.  But first, I decided to order some starter salads from Dakota Pizza company...I mean, what were they thinking stealing my name?   Lol but for's a real place, a real pizza company, and I once got a free shirt because we share the same name.  Anyways, back to my blog.  I pulled out a small circular round of whole wheat pita from the fridge and placed it on a sheet of aluminum foil, then i doused the pita in mushroom flavored tomato sauce, spreading the sauce out so it covered the entire base of the pita.  Then I added a couple handfuls of shredded white Mozzarella cheese, so only a couple specks of red sauce were visible.  To add some "pizzaz" to the "pizza" I sliced two green onions into small, miniature circles and one medium sized red pepper into thin strips.  I added the vegetables to the pizza and placed it in the oven for 5 minutes.  After a quick 5 minutes, I let the pizza sit in the oven so the rest of the cheese would melt.  As I took the pizza round out of the oven, I was shocked by the heat from the aluminum foil, probably should've used an oven mitt...but hey, YOLO, right?  To enhance the taste, I sprinkled some garlic powder and crushed red pepper flakes on top.  My mouth was salivating and I could hardly wait to try my creation.  I tried to cut it in half but then the toppings started to get messed up, so I decided to eat it whole.  As I took my first bite, my teeth sunk into the soft pita, as the combination of flavors entered my mouth - the sweetness of the tomato sauce, with the hint of the mushroom, the salty creaminess of the cheese, the pungent spice of the scallions and the crunch of the red peppers.  The bold flavor of the garlic mixed with the fiery flavor of the crushed red pepper added just the right kick to my pizza.  This really made my Saturday night, special.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Gimme S'more of That

Last night I decided I needed to spice up my life a little bit, in the sense of food, and what I was going to eat for my meals - dinner and dessert.  For dinner I decided on brown rice, stir-fried shrimp and roasted butternut squash and onions: tasty and easy.  However, I always have more trouble deciding what to have for dessert, because I am not a huge fan of sweets.  I opened our snack cabinet to find a box of mini graham cracker squares, mini jet-puffed marshmallows and mini semi-sweet chocolate chips, and Voila!  I was going to make mini s'mores for dessert!  But first, I had a prior commitment - a yoga class with my dad.  After an hour of relaxation, the only thing on my mind was the s'mores.  As we pulled into the driveway, I jumped out of the car and rushed into the house and took out a packet of chopsticks.  Why, chopsticks? you may ask...well it was a replacement skewer because these s'mores were taking place over an electric stove, rather than a smoky BBQ grill.  I stuffed two mini marshmallows on the chopstick and let the white puffs toast over the low heat from the stove, as they caught on fire and turned a golden brownish-black.  After about 3 minutes, the marshmallows were ready to be combined with the other ingredients.  I placed one mini brown speckled cracker on the plate, slid my marshmallows off the "skewer" as they laid on top of the cracker and then sprinkled about 3-4 mini chocolate chips on top.  To finish it off, I placed one more mini cracker on top, making it the perfect s'more sandwich.  The first bite was crunchy but gooey, the crunch from the crispness of the cracker mixed with the gooeyness of the marshmallows, as the chocolate chips melted in my mouth.  I went back to roast some more marshmallows, once I start, I can't be stopped - I'm a sucker for roasted marshmallows.  For not being a big dessert fan, it was the perfect amount of sweetness with a quick crunch, leaving me happy and satisfied.